Here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the #1 sports story of the past week has been the (repeat after me, Niner and Eagle fans) Terrell Owens controversy. It's bumped politics and warfare off the front page; it's dominated the radio talk shows. The Rangers and Mavericks and Stars (Oh My) are just rumors; the local 24-hour Sports Radio station, KTCK, just about turned its format over to "All T.O, All the Time."
So yes, I have tired head about T.O. But as should surprise absolutely nobody at Batter's Box, in my head, this became a prime Hall of Names opportunity. We've done a few initial teams in the past -- All-G.M., for instance, and All-M.D., among others.
So you can see what's coming, right? It's time to Cowboy up and meet the All-T.O. team, which (with a nod to the wide receiver's acclaimed "hot dog" status), we will dub ...
The Owens Country Sausages
** indicates Hall of Famer (none)
* indicates All-Star (just one so far)
And really, what better place to have a T.O team than a Web site dedicated to TO baseball?
C Tom O'Rourke (.186, three teams, 1887-90)
1B Thomas J. O'Brien (mostly OF, .278, 1897-1900)
2B Thomas "Red" Owens (.196 in 51 games, 1899 PHI, 1905 BRK)
SS Tim O'Rourke (did all but P and C, hit .291, six teams, 1890-94)
3B Tom O'Malley (.256, 1982-90)
OF Troy O'Leary (.274, 127 homers in 11 years)
OF Thomas Edward O'Brien (.277, 1943-50)
OF Tom Oliver (.277, 1930-33)
DH Tony Oliva* (.304, 220 homers, three batting titles in 15 years)
C Tom O'Meara (.147, 1895-96 Cleveland Spiders)
2B/1B/OF Thomas H. O'Brien (.231, 1882-90)
OF/SS Tom Oran (.185 with 1875 St. Louis Red Stockings)
SS Tony Ordenana (2-for-4 with the 1943 Pirates)
3B Tim Olson (.182 through 2006)
OF Tom O'Hara (.252, 1906-07 STL)
Available Pitchers (Flying at "Half Staff")
RHSP Thomas "Buck" O'Brien (20-13 with '12 BOS, 29-25 career)
RHSP Tomo Ohka (48-58 through 2006)
RHRP Ted Olson (1-1, 1936-38)
LHRP Ted Odenwald (1-0, 4.34, 1921-22 CLE)
There actually has been one T. Owens to play major league ball, 2B Thomas "Red" Owens, who hit just a shade under .200 in two cups of coffee around the turn of the last century ... Sorry, Melvin Thomas Ott, the standard "no middle names" rule applies here and takes out our only potential Hall of Fame roster member ...
And no nicknames, of course, so sorry James "Tip" O'Neill, you of the .435 BA in 1887(!) ... Interesting note on O'Neill; though he led the American Association in hitting in 1887 (duh), he also led it the next year though he hit "only" .335 -- that's right, his batting average year over year dropped 100 points and he still led the freaking league in hitting! ... There was another Tip O'Neill, Fred, who hit .308 for his career -- he was 8-for-26 with the 1887 New York Metropolitans ...
True, "Anthony" and "Antonio" and the like don't really start with "T," but if the player went by "Tony," he's in (or we don't have a full roster anyway) ... There have been no less than four Tom or Tommy O'Briens to make the big leagues ... Thomas Edward O'Brien hit .301 with the 1943-45 Pirates, but his WWII stats didn't hold up as he dipped to an even .200 with the 1949 and 1950 Red Sox and Senators. Well, at least his "duh, that makes sense" nickname of "Obie" sets him apart from the other T.O.'s ...
A surprising number of the T.O.'s who did make it to the big leagues seem to have played at least part of their career in Boston ... The only active T.O. appears to be The Blue Jays' own Tim Olson, a .182 career hitter who spent the entire 2006 season in Syracuse rather than turning, uh, TO into T.O.'s town ... Sure, Tony Ordenana has that whole "Antonio" thing working against him, but let's hear it for the man with the .500 career batting average! He was 2-for-4 with three RBI in his only career big league game ...
The pitching staff is woefully short, with just two starters and two relievers even available, and Tomo Ohka leads the team in career wins, but then that Dallas T.O. who started this mess never had very nice things to say about the guys who throw the ball anyway ... He has shown equal disdain for coaches, of course, so perhaps it's best that no T.O has ever managed in the major leagues ...